Bobcats Chronicles

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Recap: Nuggets 104 Bobcats 93 – No relief

Posted by Sup on January 26, 2010

Boxscore Recap

As it turns out, the Denver Nuggets didn’t need Carmelo Anthony to beat the Bobcats. Or Kenyon Martin for a good portion of the game (he was ejected with 2:27 to go in the second period). Or even Chris Andersen, though his damage was done before he twisted his ankle early in the fourth period. No, all they really needed was Chauncey Billups and Aaron Afflalo. Billups did his work inside and Afflalo from deep as they Nuggets were only rarely threatened by a relatively meek Bobcats squad that came in as ready as they could be knowing that Anthony would miss the game with his own sprained ankle.

Billups would get to the basket again and again, driving on Raymond Felton and Flip Murray and using those “savvy veteran” moves, like lifting his arms into the defender in order to draw fouls. He did this to both Murray and Felton, and with no defensive presence in the middle, his path to the basket was often unabated. He finished the night with 27 points, 11 assists, and 12-13 from the free throw line.

Afflalo often found himself alone for uncontested 3 point attempts from the deep right corner, and he connected on 6-7 from deep, finishing with a career high 24 points. Joey Graham, starting in place of Anthony, also did damage, getting his 13 on a full range of jumpers and drives.

The Bobcats never quite found their footing, drawing to with 2 in the second quarter, but never taking the lead again after holding it midway through the first. They did not start slow this time, scoring 26 in the first. Gerald Wallace hit two 3’s in the period, and Boris Diaw was aggressive early, scoring on a couple of drives to the basket and 2 3’s of his own. But they were unable to distance themselves form the Nuggets, again because of the hot shooting by Denver (.688 from the field in the period) and, yes, turnovers. 5 of their 15 for the game came in the first, including an old school Bobcats “give it to Ray 27 feet from the basket with 2 seconds to go on the shot clock so he can heave it up and miss everything” 24 second violation. The Bobcats were able to get inside some until Andersen came into the game, and he went about his business trying to block everything, even a 3 point attempt by D.J. Augustin, who cooled off considerably from his hot night against the Magic. In fact, of Augustin’s four shots from the field (0-4, 3 points), Andersen blocked 3 of them.

Wallace was unable to get it going either, even though he finished with 20 points and 7 rebounds, including a spectacular fast break slam off a feed from Stephen Jackson (7-16, 22 points, 4 assists). The Nuggets trapped him on the perimeter and forced him to give up the ball often, and despite his efficient night, he only was able to get 10 shots off, hitting 7.

I mentioned in an earlier post that the defense has lost some intensity, and is showed again last night. Billups was able to get to the basket without much resistance, the weakside help was non-existent, and the rotations to Afflalo only happened twice that I can recall from the game. During the win streak, the Bobcats’ defensive rotations were spectacular, and teams were not getting uncontested looks form anywhere on the floor. That has seemingly disappeared, perhaps under the tender ankles of two key perimeter defenders, Wallace and Felton. The big men, Diaw, Nazr Mohammed, Gana Diop, also got into foul trouble against Nene on the inside, and were unable to match up with Andersen…but who can? The bottom line is this team is not going to beat teams by scoring with them. The Bobcats must stop teams to win, and since completely shutting down the Heat on January 22, they have given up 103, 106, and now 104 to their opponents. Perhaps some of this can be alleviated if Tyson Chandler is on the road to a return, but he’s not going to help the perimeter rotations that much. And even though the ‘Cats completely demolished their next opponent last time out, it isn’t likely the Phoenix Suns will play as badly as they did in Charlotte at home in the US Air Arena, and they are as capable of putting up 120 points against a team as anyone.

‘Cat of the Night – Gerald Wallace had a stat filled night in the loss: 20 points, 7 rebounds, 2 blocks, 2-2 from 3. But even with that nice line, he never was a force in the game. Getting only 10 shots will do that.

Stat of the Night – 2- 8: Raymond Felton’s shooting line from the night. Billups made it tough on the still gimpy Felton, and he could not get it going from anywhere, though he was able to generate 9 assists.

Noteable Notables

  • Martin’s quick hook in the second period was the result of his inability to keep his mouth shut after a foul call.
  • You knew it was going to be a long night when Andersen flew out to the left corner to block Augustin’s 3 point attempt. The Birdman is a threat to block shots anywhere, and the Bobcats could not force fouls or get him isolated outside of the lane.
  • Stupid thought: it would have been interesting to see Stephen Graham out trying to defend his twin brother Joey. Maybe he would have been more successful stopping his mini ‘Melo impersonation.

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